Prototype e-bike gets packed to the gears with futuristic tech

Carbon drive systems and infinitely variable planetary hubs sound like they belong on a spaceship that doesn't exist yet. So, you'll either be excited or disappointed to hear that all of this futuristic-sounding technology is available right now, on an electric bicycle.

To be fair, the equipment on this e-bike conceptual prototype is legitimately futuristic, and not just futuristic sounding. A collaboration between Bosch, NuVinci, and Gates, it features a combination of equipment designed to make riding a bike easy and fun instead of the brutal chore that it is otherwise.

Bosch provides the batteries and an electronic control system, which is a little console mounted on the handlebars that lets you switch modes between "eco," "tour," "sport," "speed," and "that damn car thinks it's better than me, huh?" Okay, maybe not that last one. The carbon belt drive comes from Gates, and it's quieter and stronger than a conventional chain drive, never needs lubrication, lasts longer and has a much cooler name.

The last piece of the puzzle is the gear system, which is a NuVinci infinitely variable planetary transmission. While there's absolutely no way for this thing to be entirely as cool as it sounds, it's still pretty nifty: based on a concept actually by Leonardo DaVinci, the NuVinci transmission uses a set of rotating and tilting balls ("planets") to create a smoothly infinite number of gear ratios. Here's how it works:

If you could buy this whole bike, it would most likely cost you about $4,200, but it's still just a prototype at the moment. Oh well, back to doing it the hard way and actually having to, you know, pedal.

Globe, via Wired

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